What is Freemasonry?

“Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols”

The precise origins of Freemasonry have been lost in time, however, its traditions date back to the Middle Ages and to the stonemasons who built the cathedrals and castles of Europe. To construct them, it was necessary for men to have considerable knowledge of geometry, arithmetic and engineering. These highly skilled masons formed themselves into lodges to protect the skills and secrets of their trade and to pass their knowledge on to worthy apprentices. Importantly, these men were not bondsmen, hence the word “free” in Freemason.

By the 17th Century, when the building of castles and cathedrals diminished, Masonry began to lose its ‘operative’ aspects and worthy men who were not craftsmen were also accepted into its membership. It was from this time that Masons were known as ‘free and accepted’ Masons, as they continue to be known to this day.

The first Grand Lodge was established in England in 1717 and thereafter Freemasonry spread rapidly throughout the world. Freemasonry has been practised in Australasia since early in the 19th Century.

Freemasonry is…

  • One of the world’s oldest and largest fraternal organisations
  • An organisation of men who adopt the fundamental principle of integrity, goodwill and charity as the foundations for an individual’s life and character
  • A non-profit organisation that is heavily involved in supporting charity and community service
  • Comprised of men of good character with high ideals and worthwhile values who make a difference in the community

For more information:

The Myths Dispelled

  • It is not a secret society but embraces confidentiality
  • It is not a religion or a substitute for religion
  • It emphasises universal harmony and does not permit discussion of religion or politics
  • It is not a benefit society and to join for personal gain will only lead to disappointment

A Freemasons Code

  • To share a concern and respect for human values, moral standards, the laws of society and the rights of individuals
  • To believe in a Supreme Being
  • To help other people through charity work and community service
  • To promote fellowship and goodwill amongst his fellow members
  • To regularly attend Lodge meetings and participate, with his family, in masonic activities

Freemasonry in New Zealand

The official web site for Freemasons NZ is: freemasonsnz.org

  • New Zealand is divided into three Masonic Divisions, each of which is divided into a number of Districts. In each District there are a number of Lodges.
  • Each Division has a Divisional Grand Master who oversees the operations of the Districts.
  • Each District has a District Grand Master and a District Secretary.
  • Each Lodge has a Master, a Secretary and a range of other Officers to help with the running of the Lodge and its events.

Overseeing all of the Divisions, Districts and Lodges is Grand Lodge of New Zealand (GLNZ). Administration for GLNZ is done from Grand Lodge Office in Wellington.

Interesting Facts

  • There are 273 active Lodges in New Zealand.
  • There are over 10,000 Freemasons in New Zealand.